Cold Email

8 Cold Email Phrases to Avoid in 2020

I hope you’re staying safe and sane in these trying times. 

Do you feel comforted or bored? Be honest.

Promising cold email copy can quickly turn into a cliche. 

Boredom (or, worse, annoyance) is the last thing you want your prospects to experience when they open your cold email. Casual writing can do the trick. You just have to make sure you get your message right. But what works and what doesn’t? To distill an answer into a quick list of “don’t do this ever” phrases, we turned to both experts on cold email and our own experience as we build Wiza. 

These phrases are ineffective at best, and dishonest and or off putting at worst. Let’s all write better cold emails. 

#1: “Hi, my name is Brooklin and I work at Wiza.” 

Opening your email with the wrong focus is a good way to lose your prospects before they even finish the first line.

The phrase shows your lead two things right off the bat:

  1. You’ve done 0 research into them and their company.
  2. You have 0 interest in personalizing your offer and pitch to the challenges they face. 

You have 2 seconds to grab their attention. Make good use of it by making the first line about them. Drop the intro further down. 

Ideally, you would have already followed or connected with them on social media, so the cold intro isn’t always necessary. 

#2: “Would you like to schedule a time to chat?”

Dayana Mayfield, an cold email copywriter, is not a fan of jumping to the “quick 15-minute call.” 

Neither are we, to be honest. Here’s what Dayana has to say about this particular CTA.  

cold email example 1

“People should stop trying to go straight for requesting a call and instead ask something that starts a conversation.” 

Dayana has a great alternative: ask a simple, yes/no question as your CTA. Prospects will find it easier to respond, and you’ll almost certainly see your engagement rate shoot up. 

Even when we do mention the possibility of a call, we make it less demanding and, ultimately, bring it back to how we can help them. 

#3: “I’m following up on…”

This one is less common but equally annoying. Including a line like this is a good way to grab a lead’s attention, but it’s generally dishonest (or misleading at best). 

Professor Ben Hippeli calls it one of his “Instant Delete” phrases in cold email. 

cold email example 2

“Unless I recognize who the email is coming from, I’m deleting that email.” 

Save the ‘follow up’ for someone you’ve truly already engaged with elsewhere.   

#4: “I’ve been following your stuff for awhile.”

Speaking of bad cold emails coming off as disingenuous.

Nothing turns off someone who receives 10+ cold pitches a day quite like this phrase — which is false 99% of the time. Victor Ijidola, a B2B content strategist, puts it as succinctly as possible.

Whether you’re pitching content marketers or making initial contact with high-level prospects, save this sentiment for when it’s actually true. Steer away from gushing over their work unless you have been engaging on social channels ahead of outreach. 

#5: “Looking forward to hearing from you.”

Intros are key, but the way you end a cold email can have a big impact as well. Check out what B2B growth hacker Patrick Hellstrom, has to say. 

cold email example 4

The phrase may seem innocuous. And it probably is, in most cases. But some prospects take issue with this outro for two reasons:

  1. It brings the conversation back to you instead of keeping it on them. 
  2. They’re pointless words. They’re not saying anything. They’re moot (see what I did there?)

Point is, keep the focus on your prospect even as you sign off. Try something simple like “take care” or a secondary CTA like “Think it over and let me know”. 

#6: “Sorry…”

You don’t have to be the Don Draper of sales, but you shouldn’t resort to self-deprecation either.

Avoid saying sorry. In any form. 

  • “Sorry to waste your time”
  • “I know your time is valuable”
  • “Sorry to bother you”
  • “Yes, another follow up, sorry” 

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by implying what you have to say isn’t valuable to your prospect. 

If you’re convinced your product is worth their time, you have no reason to apologize. 

#7: “I’m not sure if you saw my previous email.”

Here’s a hint: they did. 

“Follow-up emails often feel unnatural and uncomfortable — nobody wants to be a nag. So, we pepper our follow-ups with justifications like this. If an executive is reading your follow-up, they almost certainly read your first one and didn’t respond for a reason.”

Drew D’Agostino | Sales Hacker 

Instead of beating around the bush with a half-hearted check in, go for something more straightforward. Just restate your value prop or make the follow up email more unique and personalized. 

#8: “Hope you’re staying healthy and safe.”

What started as a good thought has turned into a coronavirus cliche. 

At the very least, switch it to the end of your email. It will seem more genuine after your pitch instead of a formality you have to get through. 

The same goes for the more generic: “I hope you’re doing well.” 

That’s a precious second, wasted. Instead, get to the point as quickly as possible. 

  • “I’m writing because…”, or 
  • “[name] at [place] recommended I get in touch with you.” 

Your prospects will appreciate it. 

Pro Tip: Don’t Forget About Personalization 

A great cold email is just as much about what you do include as it is about avoiding those off putting phrases. 

Whatever you do, make sure every single cold email you send is personalized to the recipient and audience you’re sending it to. 

Someone who receives dozens of cold emails a week will be able to tell if you simply copy/paste the same email to thousands of prospects. 

“I hate zero personalization,” Paolo Campisi told us (Paolo is Managing Partner at Elementary Ventures). “It’s always easy to see right through a copy and pasted cold email that was blasted out to a thousand people.”

It’s annoying, in other words.

Whatever phrases you don’t include, make sure you do include:

  • Their name and company name. “Hey there” and “Greetings” just won’t cut it these days (did they ever?). Use your lead lists and variables to name drop in the first line — maybe even the subject line. 
  • A specific point of (shared) interest. How did you come across this particular lead? If you’re sending to a smaller list, take time to check for mutual connections and interesting content on LinkedIn. For larger lists, make mention of what one of your search criteria (“Jealous of the sunshine you’re getting over there in California”). 
  • Your tailored value prop. Yes, you’ll need to include your pitch in the email. But you should still make it about them as much as possible. If you include something “I think we can mutually benefit,” say how and why. Instead of “I’ve taken a deep dive into your business,” mention a few quick points from their customers or challenges. Your best bet is to turn it into a question: “Do you think Wiza could you help you pinpoint promising leads in the shaken up events industry?” 

How do you win new deals through cold email? We’re all ears. 

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About author

Hey, I'm Brooklin, Head of Content for Wiza. I used to create content for tons of B2B SaaS clients. Then I saw the beauty of Wiza and had to jump on board. Use Wiza to quickly create email lists from LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Use GIFs to win my heart.

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